Scissor Gripping TechniquesThere are two simple stepping-stones at the beginning of every hairstylist’s career: deciding to pursue the profession itself and learning how to hold a pair of scissors.

It may not seem like it, but a hairstylist’s grip on a scissor can mean the difference between a fabulous cut and a botched hairdo. Professionals from note that proper grip not only improves accuracy but minimizes the strain on hands and wrists as well. This is important for anyone planning to style hair for more than a brief period in his or her life, what with repetitive motion injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome always just a few tedious sessions away.

Though adherence to the two schools of thought in shear grip ultimately boils down to one’s preference, it is important for every hairstyling student to learn the basic parts of shears and to try using both grip techniques for different tasks and styles, at least until they settle on the grip that works for them and their clients.

Here are the two ways a hairstylist can hold a pair of scissors, and the reasons why:

Traditional/Western Scissor Grip

This is the most common method of holding shears since the method is essentially how every person would instinctively hold the cutting implement. In the western grip, a hairstylist inserts their thumb into the larger of the two finger holes, with the ring finger inserted into the other. The other fingers will then rest behind the same blade as the ring finger, with the pinky positioned on the finger rest. The Western Grip provides more control and accuracy and operates solely on thumb movement.

European/Eastern Grip

The Eastern Grip involves inserting the index finger in place of the ring finger, leaving the finger rest vacant and the thumb the sole moving finger. Done right, the shears should point downward instead of upward.

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Only advanced hairstylists tend to use this unorthodox gripping technique, as it provides more speed at the cost of ergonomics. This does not mean, however, that the Eastern Grip is any less safe to use than its Western counterpart, and experienced hairdressers have spent their careers holding shears inversely without developing conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome.

There is no debating how fundamental holding a scissor is to the career of every hairstylist. Finding the balance between the two grip techniques is sure to provide one with the versatility his or her clients need.

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